To prevent gypsy moth populations from becoming established and minimize the risk they pose to forests, farms, orchards and trees, government is planning aerial-spray treatments in three regions of the province in 2020.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development has applied for a pesticide-use permit to aerial spray 241 hectares of residential and municipal parkland in North Surrey, 231 hectares in the centre of Lake Cowichan townsite and 167 hectares of semi-rural properties and wooded area north of Castlegar.
Trapping and monitoring results over the past several years show clear evidence that gypsy moth populations are becoming established in the proposed treatment areas. If left untreated, the invasive moth could spread to new areas of the province via vehicles, containers, rail and marine vessels.
The North Surrey area was hand sprayed in 2017 and 2018, and aerially sprayed in 2019. It is now apparent that the treatments did not completely eradicate this infestation.
The ministry is planning up to four applications of Foray 48B between April 15 and June 30, 2020, to control the moth. Foray 48B is used in organic farming and contains bacillus thuringiensis var kurstaki (Btk). Btk has been approved for the control of gypsy moth larvae in Canada since 1961.
Btk is naturally present in urban, forest and agricultural soil throughout the province. It does not harm humans, mammals, birds, fish, plants, reptiles, amphibians, bees or other insects. It only affects caterpillars after they have ingested it.
Residents are invited to submit their comments on the application (refer to Permit No. 56055-738-0030-20/23) for evaluation to the Integrated Pest Management Act administrator, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Suite 200-10470 152 St., Surrey, B.C., V3R 0Y3, by Jan. 17, 2020.
The gypsy moth is an introduced pest species. The caterpillars feed on tree leaves and can damage forests, farms and orchards. Large gypsy moth populations defoliated sections of forests and residential areas in Ontario and the eastern United States in recent years.
The moths are unintentionally brought to B.C. on vehicles and equipment from eastern North America. Infested locations are often subject to agriculture and transportation quarantines, and additional treatments including vehicle checks, product certification and increased pesticide use.
To learn more about gypsy moths, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/gypsymoth
Or call toll-free: 1 866 917-5999
For information about the permit application and to view a map of the treatment zone, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/forestry/managing-our-forest-resources/forest-health/invasive-forest-pests/gypsy-moth/news
The permit application and maps are also available at Surrey City Hall: 13450-104 Ave., Surrey; Lake Cowichan Town Hall: 39 S. Shore Rd., Lake Cowichan; and Castlegar City Hall: 460 Columbia Ave., Castlegar.